By Rosie Fletcher
There are many things to consider before you purchase a
wheelchair. Regardless of whether you want a manual or powered
chair, consider the following:
1. Folding or rigid frames?
On manual chairs, folding frames are the usual conventional
type having an X brace in the center allowing the frame to be
folded sideways. Folding is simple, but a chair of this type
tends to be bulky as well as quite heavy. New versions of
lighter materials are now available, but regardless of this
point because folding frames involve many parts, it is heavy
compared to a rigid frame. Rigid frame joints are welded and a
lightweight aluminum material is used, enabling one to
the wheelchair into the car without help.
2. It's all about comfort: get the footrest angled perfectly
An angle footrest is measured from the horizontal or is
regarded from the side, whereas tapered footrests are regarded
from the front, and joins both feet at the bottom, providing
more clearance when turning. However, if you have limited hip
and knee joint flexibility, this can be uncomfortable.
3. Don't overlook the handrim
Note that the overall diameter of a handrim will affect its
propulsion. This means that having a large diameter climbs
be easier and with a diameter that is much smaller, it brings
about a lot of speed on a flat surface.
4. It's all about the wheels
While spoked wheels are lighter, they require extra
with continued use. Composite wheels on the other hand usually
wear out at the bearing escalations. Then, the zero camber
gives a slender wheelchair measurement. When the camber is
increased, the measurement at the wheel’s botton is also
increased and the measurement at the top is decreased,
providing steadiness and turning can be done with ease.
5. Wheel locks
These are of two types namely the under-seat and the side
mounted. The side mounted type provides easy operation, though
one has to be careful when pushing as thumbs can easily be
caught in the wheel lock. Whereas the under-seat type can pas
up to this problem, it is much difficult to use since it calls
for reaching under the seat.
6. Front and back balance
Check the balance well - as if the rear wheels are very much
far forward to the frame, the user can tip backwards. Also,
chair will be hard to push if the wheels are put too far
Wheelchair safety measures:
- Always make sure that your wheelchair is in good condition
all the time.
- When using a power wheelchair, be certain to turn the power
off when leaving it at a slope or inclined place.
- When pushing a patient, inform her first before you move the
- When not moving, use brakes.
- Do not attempt to go up or to go down on steep slopes.
- When pushing a patient on a manual wheelchair, be sure that
your speed should not exceed that of brisk walking.
- When transferring a patient to a wheelchair, be sure to
the footplates before doing so. Then lower the footplates
and place the patient’s feet onto the footplates.
- Avoid passing through grassy or pebbled plains.
- When crossing the street, be sure to stop, look and listen.
Safety on power wheelchairs:
- Choose a type with mechanical brakes that can be released or
set by the user.
- For outdoor use, a power wheelchair must have power large
wheels at the front and never free swinging casters.
- For the user with an impaired hand or arm, install an
orthotic elbow or arm support so as to aid the hand when
operating the controls.
- Shut off breaking sensors can detect when a wheelchair is
moving out of control and quickly shut off the power.
- Mechanical brakes can bet set by the user with normal hand
- Check the batteries before you go out that they are fully
charged, every time.
- Always keep a cell phone handy. You’ll never know
- A power wheelchair has many of the same parts as a car. Have
it checked by a professional every three months for safety,
check it daily yourself.
Are you at risk?
Fit & active individuals are on the average the safest users
a manual, power-assisted, and fully powered wheelchair. They
at very low risk.
Individuals with missing arms or legs, having active upper
bodies are generally safe power wheelchair users. Although it
depends on the type of control device that is used, but when
used and executed properly, they are at low risk.
3. People having weak upper bodies like people with Cerebral
Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson Disease, and many other
A standard joystick is used to maneuver power wheelchairs.
These disorders cause slowed reflexes, impaired eyesight, or
impaired judgment. All must be carefully screened for their
functional insufficiency. They are at moderate risk.
4. Individuals with little or no upper body movement
Individuals who uses a mouth a puff & sip breathe control,
mouth joystick, or gyroscopic (inertial) wheelchair controls.
They are at high risk.
5. Paralyzed individuals and children.
Children as well as very small adults that are using special
seats need a power wheelchair, mostly with significantly
paralyzed bodies. Depending on the mechanical operation, the
individual’s ailment, and personalized progress and safety
instruction, these individuals are at high risk.
About The Author: For more great wheelchair related articles
and resources check out wheelchair.goldenhq.com